Trump keeps accusing health care workers of stealing medical supplies

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Trump has offered no evidence for his claims, saying only that he heard something from 'a tremendous power in the business.'

As New Yorkers applaud and cheer the city's health care workers from their windows every day at 7 p.m., Donald Trump is accusing them of being thieves.

At a Monday press briefing from the Rose Garden, he accused health care professionals of stealing medical equipment, such as much-needed masks, and did so without offering any evidence.

"I expressed what was told to me by a tremendous power in the business," Trump said during his White House press briefing. He did not name his supposed source, but claimed that he had been told masks are "going out the back door" in hospitals in New York City, one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic.

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"When you go from 10,000 masks to 300,000 masks," Trump said, "there's something going on."

He added that he's "not making any charges," but then told a reporter to "go to the hospitals and find out why."

The comments came on National Doctors Day, a day already set aside to thank doctors for all their contributions to society.

Monday was not the first time Trump accused doctors and nurses of being thieves.

On Sunday, he made the same unfounded allegation during a White House press conference.

"They've been delivering for years 10,000 to 20,000 masks," Trump said. "OK, it's a New York hospital, it's packed all the time. How do you go from 10,000 to 20,000 to 300,000 ... even though this is different? Something's going on, and you oughta look into it. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?"

There is no evidence to back up claims of widespread thievery by New York City hospital workers.

Trump's accusation did not sit well with New York medical professionals.

In a Sunday statement, Kenneth Raske, the president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said health care workers "deserve better than their President suggesting that PPE is 'going out the back door' of New York hospitals." He added that medical professionals are "treating exploding numbers of COVID-19 patients around the clock — willingly and without complaint."

In New York City, many doctors and nurses are being encouraged to reuse protective equipment.

At Mount Sinai West in Manhattan, nurses resorted to wearing trash bags because of the lack of personal protective equipment.

"Six weeks ago, nobody would've suggested reusing face masks and other PPE," Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told the Daily Beast. "We're now operating in the climate of crisis standards of care. It's already started, and it's something that we've always feared."

The issue is not just affecting New York City. Doctors and nurses around the country are facing a shortage of medical equipment as the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen.

On March 19, the New York Times reported that a doctor in rural Kentucky was forced to intubate a number of patients in respiratory distress without proper protective equipment.

"There's absolutely no way to protect myself," Dr. Faezah A. Bux told the Times. "Not only can I not protect myself, I can't protect my patients."

According to the New York Times, the number of deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic tripled between Thursday and Tuesday, rising from 1,000 to more than 3,000. Health experts expect the crisis to get worse in the coming weeks.

"I mean, looking at what we're seeing now, you know, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000" deaths, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday. "But I don't want to be held to that."

Fauci added that there would likely be "millions of cases."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.